Friends and enthusiasts mourn loss of photographer Norman Preedy

By Geoff Courtney

NORMAN Preedy, one of the country’s leading railway photographers whose name was known to many thousands of steam and diesel trainspotters through his photographs in the Ian Allan ABCs, has died suddenly at the age of 75.

Norman, who was unmarried, was found at his home in Barnwood near Gloucester on November 18.

He was a trainspotter in the 1950s – although he disliked the description, saying he spotted engines not trains – and became seriously interested in photography in 1961.

Unusually for his generation of steam enthusiasts, he adapted quickly to the diesel era, and was proud of the fact that he photographed every member of Classes 41, 42, 43, Western Class 52, and the Class 55 Deltics.

Last day on the footplate: Norman Preedy (left) with friend Peter Berry on the footplate of LMS Class 8F No. 48666 at Burnley’s Rose Grove shed (10F) on August 11, 1968 – a date that will forever live in the memory of steam trainspotters as the last day of BR main line steam. PETER BERRY COLLECTION

On his death, his collection of steam and diesel negatives was believed to number about 100,000.
Norman was also the author of a number of books containing many of his photographs, and to the very end supplied photographs to magazines, including Heritage Railway, one of which is on page 16 of this issue accompanying areport of the record-breaking sale on November 17 of a nameplate from No. 60103 Flying Scotsman.

Norman’s family had a railway connection as his father Joe joined the GWR as a lorry driver in 1935 and retired in the mid-1960s when a guard at Gloucester, while Norman, a man of old-fashioned principles, courtesy and habits, worked for Gloucester City Council for 34 years, latterly as archivist in the legal department.

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